The challenge I have taken this Lent and Easter season is to recognize that I am the Lord’s vessel. As such, I'm trying to push myself to discern and act on his will for me, but there is no way for this to happen without allowing myself to be filled with the gifts of the Spirit. These gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord are the same ones that we commemorate today with Pentecost. With these gifts, the apostles traveled the world telling the Good News.
The Spirit is what unites each of us in Christ. The first reading explained to us how the Spirit manifested himself in the Apostles. At this moment of Pentecost, the Church was founded and these simple men were given the gifts needed to live out the Gospel. This was not a onetime deal but a lasting relationship between the Trinity and man. Paul spoke often of the influence of the Spirit as he did today in 1 Corinthians where he speaks of the Spirit as the force that unites each of us. Though we are all different and experience faith a little differently, the Spirit gives us the ability to come together through the Church to praise God. So ultimately, the strength we get from working together in faith is due to the Spirit drawing each of us in.
I have experienced this most fully in the camp in which I have worked the previous four summers. We bring together 60 college student from diverse backgrounds and put on a program where they work together for the common goal of bringing children to Christ in new ways. From the beginning, I was told that the Spirit is our greatest ally in this but never really understood what that meant. Over the years I began to recognize little by little how he acts through us all the time. He was the one who gave us the patience to listen to the children who were grinding on that last nerve. He was the one who drove the staff to pray together when they felt they had no more to give. And he was the one who brought the love of the Father and the Son to each of us. Once filled with this love so many other aspects of our faith came alive for us. No longer were Mass and adoration just a matter of going through the motions, but instead they were now seen as the gifts from God that they truly are.
The periods of spiritual fire that I have experienced are sometimes forgotten and I fall back into the monotony of daily living. However, I hope that this Easter season I have been able to find renewal in my devotion to the Spirit. I see this as more important than ever as I move from graduation into the next stage of my life; I need those gifts of the Spirit such as fortitude, counsel, and wisdom more than ever before. I hope that today we can each take a moment to decide which gifts we need most from the Spirit and pray that he fills us with his love and fire.
Editor's Note: Mason graduated from Creighton University in May, so this will be his last reflection for us. Please keep him in your prayers as he works as a graduate nurse at a Catholic camp run by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas this summer.